Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tropical Weather Page

Most of you cruisers are probably aware of the Maya Paradise Super-Duper All-In-One Tropical Weather Page. Over time it had become only partially functional but has been restored and is fully up to date. On a single page you can get all the weather forecast, wind and sea conditions, satellite imagery, and hurricane info that you need. To get the same information you'd have to navigate to 16 different web pages on different sites, one by one. Those 16 sources are drawn together on one page showing marine and general weather info for the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

Super-Duper All-In-One Tropical Weather Page

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Skype Directory

As you may know, many people in Rio Dulce use Skype to stay in touch with friends and to make phone calls. Maya Paradise has a Skype Directory page where your Skype ID can be listed along with a SkypeMe button so people can dial you simply by pressing the button next to your name right on the web page. If you would like to be listed or if your ID has changed, please let me know by commenting here or by email.

Maya Paradise Skype Directory

Felipe, Webmaster

Monday, March 24, 2008

Front Page Slide Show

The entirely new main page design offers a cleaner layout, easier navigation, and a means to show featured links with photos such as the Catamaran Island Hotel link. Those featured photo link slots are available for a nominal fee.

To spice up the top of the page there is a cross-fading slide show displaying different scenes in Rio Dulce. If you have a photo that you think is representative of Rio Dulce that you'd like to show off, and if the photo works well within the limited slideshow window space (790x230 pixels) please contact me. I can embed a credit/copyright if you'd like.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Forum Upgrades

The Maya Paradise forums / bulletin board have returned to immediate posting but with semi-automatic moderation. Eight years ago, the forums were unmoderated and new posts would appear immediately. Three years ago, the proliferation of spam robots and other problems forced me to go to full moderation where every single post had to be reviewed by an administrator or moderator before being approved. This sometimes took way too long and recently with my loss of connectivity to the site, the forums went completely dead for a long period.

But immediate posting is back! I am trying a new approach where a very strict spam and obscenity filter examines each post and determines whether it can appear immediately or be flagged for moderator examination. The primary focus of the forums is travel, tourists, and cruisers, and virtually all legitimate messages of that type should pass the filter and appear immediately. Those few posts that do not pass the filter are not lost but simply delayed until an admin or moderator approves it. (or deletes it if it's spam or junk)

Maya Paradise Forums

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The New Maya Paradise

The Maya Paradise web site is undergoing a major facelift and modernization. The site has been running for nearly 11 years with the same look and feel that was created in 1997. Back then there was no "broadband", everyone connected over dialup at 33 or 56 kbps. The design goal was to get as much content and visuals on the screen as possible while keeping the amount of data to an absolute minimum. Page load time was the most important thing. Pages that took longer than a few seconds to load over dialup were a no-no or visitors would surf away someplace else. Back in 1997, most computers had displays that were 640 by 480. "Power users" had 800x600. A handful with deep pockets might have 1024x768 but that was rare. The site was designed to function at 640 and was optimized for 800 across, under the assumption that most people would eventually upgrade to 800x600. Today 1024 across is minimum on most machines. Displays of 1280 and 1600 across are not uncommon, even on notebook computers.

All of the above adds up to the need for a complete revamp of the Maya Paradise site. The sections that draw 98 percent of the traffic have already been upgraded and new features added. The new design is immune to further advances in technology and should look okay well into the future. New features have been and are being added, and Maya Paradise is taking a whole new marketing approach. New content and new sections are in progress. The main index page has been completely redesigned. The forums are again in operation with a brand new approach that uses very tight spam filtering and new rules for participants. Those will be expanded more as times goes on. A new photo gallery is under construction as well as a means for posting news stories and current events of interest to locals and travelers (this blog right here).

For the past 16 months, Maya Paradise had been sort of "adrift without a rudder". The reason for that is a technical one having to do with Time-Warner / Road Runner having a routing problem that prevented me and anyone else in my region from reaching a good portion of the Internet, including the Maya Paradise server. The routing problem still exists and they seem unable or unwilling to fix it. But I have developed my own workaround and have regained control of the site.

I invite you once again to enjoy and participate on the Maya Paradise web site.

Felipe / Phil
Webmaster